I have some super exciting news to share with you today! The fabulous people from Penguin USA asked me to take part in the cover reveal for White Lines by Jennifer Banash - and what a cover reveal that is! I have a beautiful cover art to share with you today, a completely fascinating excerpt (be sure to read it, it's amazing!), a great author interview with Jennifer Banash, and... wait for it... a GIVEAWAY! And guess what?! It's International!!! Are you excited yet?! I know I am! (Please note, this book doesn't come out until April 2013 - what a fantastic opportunity to read it early!)
Title: White Lines
Author: Jennifer Banash
Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: April 2013 by Putnam Juvenile
A gritty, atmospheric coming-of-age tale set in New York’s Lower East SideSeventeen-year-old Cat is living every teenager’s dream—she has her own apartment on New York’s Lower East Side and at night she’s club kid royalty, guarding the velvet rope at some of the hottest clubs in the city. The night with its crazy, frenetic, high-inducing energy—the pulsing beat of the music, the radiant, joyful people and those seductive white lines that can ease all pain—is when Cat truly lives. But her daytime, when her real life occurs, is more nightmare than dream.The sounds of the city grate against Cat’s nerves, she shrinks away from human touch, and can barely think the words “I love you” even when she feels them. Having spent years suffering her mother’s emotional and physical abuse, and abandoned by her father who’s found happiness in another woman, Cat is terrified and alone—unable to connect to anyone or anything. But then someone comes along who makes her want to stop escaping her life and actually live it, only she’ll need to summon the courage to confront her demons and take control of a life already spinning dangerously out of control. Both poignant and raw, White Lines is a gripping tale and the reader won’t want to look away.
Excerpt from White Lines:
I’M SITTING ON THE STONE STEPS at school, pretending to enjoy an apple that I bought from an Asian grocery a few blocks over, when all I’m really thinking about is how long I have left until I can go home and start getting ready for the club, every stroke of makeup on my skin sliding me further from daylight. I tongue the white flesh and sink my teeth in, wishing the ripe fruit was the tanned blond head of one of the salad girls.Since Manhattan Prep is housed in a brownstone and has a population of only one hundred students or fewer in the entire school, we don’t have a cafeteria. Or a prom. Or dances. Or phys ed. Instead, the Park Avenue girls buy salads at a cafeteria next door and sit in the glass atrium picking at their wilted greens, retouching their lip gloss with sticky pink wands. Even though we are all essentially weird in some way— after all, this is a school for kids who have gotten into some kind of trouble—it’s not enough to banish cliques completely. We still have the same bullshit categories as any other school: the jocks, the popular girls, the nerds. And the untouchables.Like me. It goes without saying that nobody wants to have lunch with the weirdo who goes to clubs all the way downtown every night, so I sit on the steps and try to pretend that it doesn’t matter, when really, I’d do just about anything to have a friend here. This silent admission makes my cheeks flush with shame. How can I be so weak? Even at Nightingale, I only ever really had Sara, her blond curls hanging over my shoulder, elaborately folded notes tossed at my feet during study hall. Somehow, it was almost enough. But here, with no one to talk to day after day, the loneliness creeps in like an old friend I no longer want to know. Worse yet, it wants to make small talk. Oh, it’s you again? How’ve you been?Across the street, Julian, the new kid, sits on the curb in front of Ray’s Pizza, a slice dangling from one hand. As he brings the pizza to his lips, the cheese falls off in one giant greasy slide to his lap. Julian has long dark hair that hangs to his shoulders and looks as if it hasn’t made friends with soap or water in days. His skin is the color of café au lait, and there’s something about the tilt of his eyes that makes me think he’s vaguely Asian. He wears jeans so tight that I’m sure years from now he’ll be sitting in some clinic with his frosty blond wife, stammering that he has no idea WHY they’ve had such a difficult time starting a family. All I know about Julian is that (a) he sits right across the aisle from me in history class, and (b) he transferred from Dalton last week after some kind of scandal involving his ex-girlfriend, and (c) he’s totally into the Ramones. He doesn’t talk to anyone, and never raises his hand in class, just stares down at his binder and scribbles what looks like pictures of Transformers on the cover with a black pen.Julian finishes scraping melted cheese off his jeans and looks up, an irritated expression clouding his face. When his eyes meet mine, I feel a rough shock of recognition between us and raise my apple core in a kind of demented greeting, the air suddenly as thick as pudding. Julian tosses me a curt nod and promptly goes back to stuffing the rest of the slice into his mouth, gnawing hungrily at the edges of the crust, watching me all the while. Even though I love staring, and I think that generally other people’s lives are way more interesting than TV, I feel uneasy as Julian’s eyes lock on to mine. My face burns as he chews the last bite and brushes his hands against his black jeans before walking toward me. I turn the apple core over and over between my palms, my heart careening in my chest as he approaches, glad that my hands have something to do even if the core is damp, sticky, and turning browner by the minute. As Julian moves closer, I can’t help but notice how he shakes the hair from his eyes with one expert, jagged motion, how his hazel eyes change from green to brown in the light His skin is smooth and slightly bronzed, as if he’s just returned from some exotic locale. He tilts his chin in my direction defiantly, his eyes flicking coolly over my body, taking me in.“See something you like?” He raises one dark eyebrow, and I feel like I’m going to spontaneously combust, which is what always happens when someone potentially interesting talks to me in the real world—especially if that person happens to be a guy. And up close, Julian is definitely interesting—though it makes my stomach churn spasmodically to even think the word to myself. People are dangerous, unpredictable. I know this implicitly, and every time I come into contact with them, I become a caged animal, a panther pacing back and forth behind steel bars, wary and agitated.“Yeah,” I stammer, turning redder by the second and wishing that a manhole would just open up and swallow me whole. I look down at my black boots and scramble for something to say, my brain a jumble of images, none that entirely make sense. “Your pizza—I was just . . . hungry.”The minute the words leave my lips, I know they are the truth. My stomach begins to growl loudly as if in agreement, and I look up into Julian’s amused face and laugh, my voice echoing in the street, too loud, even with the noise of a passing bus belching a thick cloud of black smoke. As the sound vibrates through me, jolting me into the present, I realize that it’s been forever since I’ve laughed at something legitimately funny or awkward without being prompted by the ingestion of some mind-altering substance. Still, I can’t quite turn off that ever-present voice inside my head, the one that holds up an invisible hand to stop me from going further, from moving closer.People are dangerous . . .“Well,” Julian says, laughing along with me and holding out a hand, “that’s remedied easily enough. C’mon.”I stare at his hand, the long fingers, and look into his eyes, which I can now see are flecked with gold. I toss my apple core to the concrete and take hold of him, ignoring the voice that begins, even now, to protest more loudly, whispering like a flock of ruffled birds, Don’t touch, don’t trust. I draw a deep breath and follow him blindly across the street, unsure of where I’m being taken.
Author interview with Jennifer Banash:
1. Welcome to Bookish Jennifer, thank you so much for joining us here today! Could start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your upcoming novel, White Lines?
Sure! I'm a YA author, and I also teach 11th and 12th grade English at a private school in Los Angeles. I'm also the author of a three-book series called THE ELITE, that was published by Berkely Jam a few years ago.
2. Could you tell us about the inspiration behind your novel?
I grew up in NYC in the late 1980's, and worked as a club kid while I was finishing high school, just like the protagonist of my novel, Cat. I wanted to write a gritty, realistic story that took place during that time period as it holds a lot of special memories for me. New York is a very different city now--almost sanitized--and I wanted to recapture some of its "dirtier" history, so to speak :)
3. Which part of White Lines would you say was the most difficult for you to write?
All of it! It was a pretty intense, emotional roller coaster of a project. The writing itself took me almost three years, which in the YA terms is just about a millennium :) Thankfully I had a great agent who stuck with me, and never told me to just hurry up and finish.
4. If your book had a soundtrack to accompany it, what songs would be on it?
New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle," Nena Cherry's "Buffalo Stance," Grandmaster Flash's "The Message," Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two," and Jane's Addiction's "I Would For You."
5. Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser?
Definitely a pantser! I never plot out my books, just let the characters take me where they want to go, which most of the time works out well in the end, but there have been times when it's been a bit of a fustercluck :)
Jennifer, thank you so much for joining us here today! Your book sounds amazing and I can't wait to read it! :)
Penguin USA has generously offered to give away one copy of White Lines by Jennifer Banash.
The giveaway is open to WORLD WIDE entrants as long as you have UPS service in your country (please be sure to check before you enter!)
Ends: July 20th
Enter via Rafflecopter below!